flat·​tery | \ ˈfla-tə-rē How to pronounce flattery (audio) \
plural flatteries

Definition of flattery

1a : the act or practice of flattering She uses the art of flattery to her advantage.
b(1) : something that flatters A compliment is flattery— Harry Shaw
(2) : insincere or excessive praise He tried to win his teacher's favor with flattery.
2 obsolete : a pleasing self-deception

Examples of flattery in a Sentence

He tried to win his teacher's favor with flattery. a talk show host who is known for charming her guests with disingenuous flattery
Recent Examples on the Web The singer has yet to respond to Harlow’s act of flattery. Kat Bouza, Rolling Stone, 6 May 2022 If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Minkyu Kim could be red blood cells’ greatest admirer. Melina Walling, The Arizona Republic, 22 Apr. 2022 If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then, color Michelle Zauner flattered. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 15 Mar. 2022 Some would say that one of the most sincere forms of flattery is imitation, however fashion designers may feel different. Greg Emmanuel, Essence, 15 Mar. 2022 But Millie turns out to care more about nice clothes and attractive watches than principles, while Sheldon manages to sneak in a couple of devastating remarks amid all his servile flattery. Los Angeles Times, 14 Feb. 2022 Individuality is great, of course; but imitation remains the highest form of flattery. Celia Ellenberg, Vogue, 16 Feb. 2022 Biden's main tricks for turning around his image in Russia were, apparently, flattery and evident competence. Peter Weber, The Week, 17 June 2021 If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Chinese President Xi Jinping should feel honored by the 2,900-page bill House Democrats claim will make the U.S. more competitive. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 2 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'flattery.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of flattery

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for flattery

see flatter entry 1

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Time Traveler for flattery

Time Traveler

The first known use of flattery was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near flattery

flatter oneself


Flattery, Cape

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Last Updated

15 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Flattery.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/flattery. Accessed 18 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for flattery


flat·​tery | \ ˈfla-tə-rē How to pronounce flattery (audio) \
plural flatteries

Kids Definition of flattery

: praise that is not deserved or meant

More from Merriam-Webster on flattery

Nglish: Translation of flattery for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of flattery for Arabic Speakers


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